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12-Step Programs


The 12-step programs have been around for 75 years; improving and saving lives from the detrimental effects of alcohol abuse. The first program began with Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930s and grew to be the most successful program available to treat alcoholism. In recent years 12-step programs have been adapted to include drug and other addictive behaviors. The successes of these programs have saved lives, families, jobs, and futures.


Today the 12-step programs continue the legacy of assisting people to regain power and take control of their lives. Dozens of books and videos detail the experiences of men and women who have attended a 12-step program for a particular addictive or dysfunctional behavior, and these stories are the daily inspiration for thousands of people wanting to beat their addictions.



The 12 steps for people joining Alcoholics Anonymous include admitting to being powerless over alcohol, having a spiritual awakening, and making amends to all the people harmed during the time he or she was controlled by their alcoholism. In addition to the 12 steps of the program, members learn how to adapt the steps to their life and how to reach out to others who are struggling with the same addiction. Helping another alcoholic with his or her personal recovery is at the heart of the program and why it is so successful.


Substance Abuse

The 12-step program for substance abuse is based on the same principals as that for alcoholics, with adjustments made to meet any additional needs of a particular addiction or behavior. The main purpose of the steps is to provide a sequential structure to aid the addict in ridding themself of the addictive behavior that is controlling and ruining his or her life.


Dysfunctional Behaviors and Other 12-Step Programs

The tremendous success of the 12-step platform has been responsible for its principals to be used to set up programs designed for people with a variety of issues. Some 12-step programs include help for:


.   Smokers

.   Debtors

.   Hoarders

.   Emotional dependency

.   Gamblers

.   Online gamblers

.   Food addictions

.   Heroin addicts

.   Over eaters

.   Online gamers

.   Sexaholics

.   Workaholics


The Internet has spawned a whole new generation of addicts with a variety of addictions beyond the expected gambling and gaming. Social media and chat rooms draw addicts into a fantasy existence and can lead to substance dependency.



The purpose behind all 12-step programs is to achieve a healthy recovery and then use what you have learned through the experience to help another person navigate through the steps to accomplish their own recovery. Performing each step in sequence is proven to work, and although programs for addictions outside of alcohol and drugs may add some specific items to the program they do not deviate from the order or purpose of the individual steps.



The strength of the sponsorship portion of the 12-step program is in its equality. Sponsors have completed the same 12 steps and can offer their support and the strength they have gained in their ongoing recovery. The simplicity of sponsorship may quite possibly be its greatest strength. A person who has successfully completed a program in an addictive behavior understands the difficulty, stress, and fear another person faces as he or she attempts to overcome the addiction that is eating away at family, work, and life. By sharing the security, fellowship, and success the program has provided, the sponsor can welcome a newcomer with stories that are encouraging and supportive.


12-step programs can also be used in group therapy formats and in individual support counseling. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction or addictive behavior that is ruining your life, look for a 12-step program to join, and turn your life around.


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